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How Do Fans Rate Padre Defense?

October 22nd, 2008 by Melvin

The preliminary results of Tom Tango’s fan scouting report are in. And like much of the Padres 2008 season, the results aren’t pretty:

Position Player MLB Rank
1b Adrian Gonzalez 3
2b Tadahito Iguchi 29
3b Kevin Kouzmanoff 28
C Nick Hundley 15
CF Jody Gerut 27
LF Chase Headley 40
RF Brian Giles 18 (tie)
SS Khalil Greene 8

Even players one would think play decent defense are lower than expected. Brian Giles at 18 and Tadahito Iguchi at 29, for example.

The fan scouting reports are a great resource. I’m sure you’re aware of the inherent bias in making judgments only based on whatever we happen to remember of a given set of events. But what’s cool about this report is that these biases are on their way to being eliminated by aggregating the data between hundreds of fans, so no one idiot messes things up.

Though he is a smart guy, I wouldn’t rely exclusively on Tango’s collected data. Check out The Hardball Times’ revised zone rating and out of zone for a complimentary (and free!) view of a dude’s defense. Myron Logan over at Friar Forecast converted the Padres 2008 numbers into the easy to read +/- system as well.

Addendum: I should note that judging a player from his MLB rank prima facie might be a bit confusing at best and flat out wrong at worst. It definitely confused me since I’m throwing this in after the fact rather than including it in the original report.

The rank isn’t the Padres player compared to the league average at that position. The rank is out of all the players who saw just a few innings there (I don’t know for sure what the minimum is, but some guys have as few as 190 innings). For instance, there are 52 players included in the rankings of second baseman, including guys like Argenis Reyes. So don’t freak out too much.

Posted in players, statistics | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “How Do Fans Rate Padre Defense?”

  1. websoulsurfer says:

    I do hope this is some type of subjective fan ranking and not anything meant to accurately reflect the players actual fielding prowess in 2008.

    Even including guys that had 100 innings or less, most of these rankings have no basis in what the stats actually indicate.

  2. Well this report is subjective in the sense that it’s based on visual observation. But I’m of the opinion that a lot of the bias and error can be eliminated by combining observations from a large sample of people.

    Here are a couple articles comparing the fans’ scouting report with other defensive metrics, on which the fans scored pretty well. Which stats are you referring to?

  3. websoulsurfer says:

    Seeing as their is NO objective method of measuring bottom line defensive acumen I have to go back to 3 basic stats, TC as a percentage of total balls in play, FP and Errors. Not balls hit to a subjective zone made up by some geek like me, total balls in play against the team. Total balls in play is fairly consistent year to year and team to team just like babip and the percentage taken by an particular position is fairly consistent as well.

    Everything else is based on opinion of how a person has done.

    After 10 years of playing the game in high school, college and professional ball and another decade working in the game at all those levels as a coach or scout I have found that no one, and I mean no one, has the same opinion of what constitutes good defense, but long term success at a position has almost always correlated very well with guys that are at or near the tops of those three stats.

    If someone can show me otherwise in a sabermetric model and make me understand how its not completely subjective, I am certainly willing and eager to listen. I personally love the evolution of the game since Bill James and the other geeks that became SABR got their hands on stats and shook up the stodgy baseball community.

    So if there is a fielding metric that is not based on total subjectivity, explain it in a future post.

  4. websoulsurfer says:

    Two more things. One specific, one slightly vague.

    1st – In watching more than 600 games this season on DVR, I am constantly looking for some specific items like distance covered by an outfielder to make a catch from a subjective standpoint and then I calculate exactly how far that fielder had to go and where they started running from based on triangulating from given points using the ballparks measurements and baseballs standard measurements. Gerut had 3 of the 10 longest runs that resulted in a catch in those 600+ games. Yes I know there were 4860 games this year, but that is a pretty god sample size. That he ranked 27th of the outfielders listed is totally out of my observations, measurements and his basic stats.

    2nd – As a coach, teacher and a trainer in business, the one thing I have to keep in mind constantly is –

    Confirmation Bias.

    If I believe something, I can consciously or subconsciously devise a rationale that will “prove” my point, even when I am wrong. A very human condition.

    And the better we get at mathematics, the easier it is to “prove” a point in the way that fits our hypothesis.

    One faulty subjective assumption can still LOOK good in a mathematical equation, while still being totally off base.

    That is my problem with all the Sabermetric models that anyone has to start off by saying “while it is not perfect” while they are using that model. If that is where you have start, then its probable that you or the model are not being objective. The model is probably based on a faulty, subjective assumption.

  5. This is going to sound like a cop out, but I have to start out by saying up front that I am not a sabermetric expert. Nothing I say is meant to represent the actual brain trusts in the sabermetric world. What we try to do is present sabermetrics in way this is easy to digest.

    I do follow sabermetrics though, to the point where I have a better understanding of how stats work than your average broadcaster.

    That said, and here’s more copping out, I probably know the least about sabermetric methods of defensive analysis.

    But I have to say that in terms of subjectivity, I believe using errors and fielding percentage, which is derived from errors, is pretty high up there. There are two reasons I think this.

    1. Errors don’t consider the first, say 80% of the defensive play. One example: If a fast fielder reaches a far ball and drops it, it’s an error. But if a slow fielder doesn’t reach the same ball it isn’t one.

    2. Even once a player reaches the ball, the awarding of an error is up to the judgement of the official scorekeeper.

    I agree it sucks to use the “while it’s not perfect” for any ananlysis, but there are also varying degrees of imperfection. I think errors are a lot less perfect than the sabermetric methods. I believe looking at the correlation charts in the second link above confrims this. Each defensive system is independently computed, and a fair amount of correlation exists between them. That shows you these systems are at least on the right track if they can independently come up with similar results.

    I’ve never seen something like that done for errors or total chances, but I have a hard time believing there would be such a strong correlation.

    As for your example of an inaccurate fan rating of Jody Gerut, my guess is it’s a result of fewer opportunities for fans to rate him. He only played in 90 games this year, he played no in major league games his previous three years, and he played for a small market team in last place. Fewer data points mean a less accurate result.

    And finally, absolutely confirmation bias is an issue I think everyone has to overcome. I know I catch myself falling prey to it a lot, which is one of the reasons I enjoy sharing different points of view with others. I encourage anyone to call me out on anything, and if you do I will listen and always consider other opinions.

  6. Ray Lankford says:

    The Fielding Bible Awards came out.

    Giles was ranked second for right fielders and Gerut was fifth for center fielders, ahead of Cameron at 10 and Edmonds at next to last. And Maddux was second for pitchers.

  7. [...] are your Padres. League average for each trait is set to 50. My first post on the subject generated some great [...]

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